MLB Insiders - Cards return to St. Louis

The Cardinals return home to St. Louis to begin a nine game home stand. The Rockies are in town for a three game set, followed by the Diamondbacks and New York Mets, next week.

MLB Insiders

The tonic for a team scrounging to score runs is for everybody to bat -- in the same inning.

The Cardinals had batted around just once since Opening Day before they arrived at Dolphin Stadium this weekend. They had lost four games in a row on their seven-game trip, scoring just 10 runs in the process, before they reached Miami.

And then they batted around in the fifth inning Friday, scoring seven runs in the inning against the Marlins. And they batted around again in the fifth inning Saturday, scoring five more runs. On Sunday, they batted around in the fourth and scored five times.

In each game, they took a 7-0 lead and, except for a spirited flurry by the Marlins on Saturday night when Florida cut that margin to one run, the Cardinals posted one of the easier series sweeps they've had in a while.

Their 9-1 win Sunday over the Marlins did not come without incident, however, Sidney Ponson, who should have cruised to his fourth straight victory, had to exit after three innings because of right elbow discomfort, although the injury isn't believed to be serious.

With men in scoring position this weekend, the Cardinals were 15 for 36 (.417). Meanwhile, the Marlins were 6 for 28 (.214).

REPLAY: John Gall, who had struggled since coming back from Triple-A Memphis, singled in one run as a pinch hitter in the Cardinals' five-run fourth inning Sunday, and St. Louis dumped Florida 9-1. Albert Pujols, getting a rare chance to bat with the bases loaded, singled in two more. Former Marlin Juan Encarnacion knocked in a run with his second hit, and Scott Spiezio doubled for the second time to drive in the final run of the inning.

Four relievers followed Josh Hancock, preserving his first Cardinals win.



--The Cardinals return home for a three-team, nine-game homestand that starts Monday against Colorado. It is a homestand that will feature three first- or second-place opponents.

Colorado leads the NL West, and Arizona, which comes next, stands one game back. The New York Mets, the last team on the stand, head up the NL East with the league's best record at 21-10.

--RHP Sidney Ponson, who came out after three innings Sunday with elbow discomfort, will be examined Monday in St. Louis by George Paletta, the team orthopedist.

--1B Albert Pujols has captured plenty of attention with his early-season power production, but he also hasn't made an error at first. Folks still were discussing the game-ending double play he both started and finished Saturday night.

"He doesn't get talked about as a Gold Glove winner but I think people should start looking at him in that way," manager Tony La Russa said. "He is Gold Glove worthy."

--3B Scott Rolen, who had played three straight games in which he collected six hits, was rested Sunday. Rolen had missed nine games with a viral infection before returning last week. Only SS David Eckstein hasn't missed a game for the Cardinals this season.

--Following an 0-for-16 dive, C Yadier Molina has had one hit in each of the last four games. He also threw out his fourth potential base stealer in the last five attempts Sunday.


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